Sep 302013

I’d like to start this historic post by thanking “snyder” for alerting us to a problem with the Categories links. The Back Office will certainly look into why the “Users Guide” category, for instance, no longer links to all threads specified for that category. I SUMMON THE BACK OFFICE TO CHECK OUT THE CATEGORY LINKS AND SEE IF THEY CANNOT BE RESTORED TO THEIR INTENDED PURPOSE. Thank you.

Next, I would like to commend “snyder” for voluntarily leaving the H-block, coming into the light, and ending his RTH Hunger Strike. In the soft-spoken,, tactful manner that characterized his participation on our original listserv version of Rock Town Hall, he worked through the technical glitch of the Users Guide category and posted the following astute comment and thread-initiating question:

Where the fuck is this user’s guide? A fuckin’ comment box does not explain shit. If this is how one is greeted when coming out of the wilderness, better to be the Unibomber.

Well, I’ll put the point of things here and leave it to whatever circle of hell this will be trapped in:

Would someone explain to me the appeal of the Miracle’s “Save Me?”

I got an email the other day with this video:

Two acts in the Snyder pantheon, the Saints and Undertones, (as well who knows how many others) have also recorded covers of this in their day. Why is that? Why not a cover of “More Love” (my own slightly more personal favorite amongst dozens of other great Miracles songs)? It’s not that I dislike “Save Me,” but in it’s original time I have to say it barely made an impression on me. And even today I can’t say anything stands out about to me.


The man has spoken. In public. For all the world to see. Please explain to our old friend the seemingly exaggerated love for “Save Me” among punk artists.

Jul 032013
Eugene Church and the Fellows

Eugene Church and the Fellows

Greetings once again, fellow seekers of the rare, the rockin’, and the rubbish-y! I come before you bearing two more dusty discs for your amusement, scrounged from the flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales in and around our nation’s capitol.

Over the years I’ve been buying my music this way, I’ve come across a number of tunes that were originally introduced to me through “cover versions” by artists I grew up with. Old, scratchy blues 45s and 78s show me what the Fabulous Thunderbirds were listening to back in the 70s, and there are any number of uptempo party/soul records that clearly had a treasured spot in the record collections of members of the J. Geils Band.

Every now and then, I run into singles that sound like they should have been covered by this or that band from my youth. I’m presenting two of them to you today.

The first is entitled “Good News,” by Eugene Church, and I think it coulda, shoulda, oughtta have been one of those foot-stomping party tunes cranked out by the J. Geils Band during their mid-70s heyday. I can hear Magic Dick and J. doubling down on the faux morse code intro, and Stephen Jo Bladd joining in on the “hoo… hoo”s during the verses. Of course, the thing would have been sped up and rockified like all their covers, but that’s okay.

01 Good News

Next up: a song called “We Need Love,” which I would have loved to hear by NRBQ, and sung by Big Al Anderson — who, quite frankly, already sounds like he stole a trick or two from the vocal playbook of Ray Scott, the artist you’ll hear here. I just love the enthusiasm Scott shows for the lyric, which he manages to transform into quite a lusty affair.

01 We Need Love

I hope you enjoy, and, as always, I look forward to your responses.


Jun 152013
Sounds of the Hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

Sounds of the Hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

Cover versions are funny things; a familiar face seen out of context. Sometimes they’re inspired, sometimes lame, sometimes just downright silly. I rarely think a cover version is better than the original, even if the original isn’t all that great to begin with. I might enjoy the novelty of the cover for a while, but eventually it all goes back to respect for the source.

Still…compare, contrast & have fun listening.

SNSI_ Under the Covers

[Note: You can add Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your iTunes by clicking here. The Rock Town Hall feed will enable you to easily download Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital music player.]

Jan 182013

We did something on this topic years ago, if memory serves. I hope to dig out the old thread, so we don’t repeat ourselves, but how about “Baby, It’s You” as an example of a song that, by the strength of its writing and structure, is impervious to subpar performers? As bad as the above 1969 cover by Smith is (and too bad, because its fringed-headbanded-Dry Looked band members promise so much), it’s still hard for me not to “root” for the song’s turns, doing my best to overlook the band’s clunky navigation.

Jan 152013

The other night my wife and I were watching TV when an ad came on for that new David Chase movie, Not Fade Away. As I was getting agita at the thought of soon hearing a patented, mouthbreathing Captain Obvious Fresh Air interview with another one of Terry Gross‘ darlings, something along the lines of her Fall 2012 interview with Stephen Colbert, which for some reason focused on his favorite musical artists, mostly obscure soft-rock pioneers like James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg, my wife distracted me with an unexpected question:

What’s this, a movie about the Dead?

I would never have made that connection, but I only saw the Dead once in college. She saw the Dead and assorted offshoot bands a total of 10 times before I knew her. That would have qualified her as a Deadhead, which helps to explain why I thought she was hot the first time I saw her. I always had a soft spot for Deadheads. Well, that’s not quite the right term, is it? However, by the time we met and started getting to know each other her Dead bootleg tapes were buried in a box of personal items, stuff I wouldn’t know existed for a few years.

For the next few days I couldn’t get the notion of the Dead’s cover of “Not Fade Away” out of my head. It gnawed at me, the way the thought of hearing Chase wax poetic over whatever obvious albums he grew up loving gnawed at me. I felt compelled to re-examine the Dead’s dreadful cover of one of the finest cover songs the Rolling Stones ever committed to vinyl. I got no further than the YouTube clip posted here: the Grateful Dead captured mid-jam. Note that the clip of this interminable cover is entitled Grateful Dead – Not Fade Away 12-31-78 – Pt. 2. The “Pt. 2” says it all: ROCK CRIME!

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